Storm-churned Waters off Cuba
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Storm-churned Waters off Cuba

September 5, 2008

Gustav may have spared the United States from the destruction that many feared, but it hit Cuba hard. The storm was a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds near 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) when it came ashore over southwestern Cuba on August 30, 2008. (See Hurricane Gustav over Cuba.) An estimated 100,000 homes and other buildings were damaged with at least 6,000 homes considered beyond repair, reported BBC News on September 2. In addition to wind damage, Gustav's heavy rain and storm surge caused flooding. No deaths have been reported, said BBC News.

None of the damage is directly visible in this photo-like satellite image, captured by the MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite on September 1, 2008, but the image points to the passage of a powerful storm system. Normally a tranquil turquoise, the shallow waters of the Golfo de Batabanó are white. Gustav churned the water, bringing sand to the surface. Clouds of tan color the water near the shore where sediment has washed into the gulf likely from both rain- and surge-induced coastal flooding and coastal erosion from the storm's battering waves. Gustav passed directly over the Golfo de Batabanó, making landfall on the Isla de la Juventude (Isle of Youth) before striking mainland Cuba.

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